PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Running for the Illinois Statehouse, Karla Bailey-Smith is looking to represent the newly drawn 91st District, which includes Bloomington Normal as well as areas like Carlock, Goodfield, East Peoria, Washington and more.
Karla joined WMBD this week in-studio to talk about her campaign.
Matt: When it comes to some of the main topics you plan to tackle, what are a few you really want the viewers to know about?
Karla: “Well, I’ve been a small business owner for 22 years. So at the top of our platform is protecting worker’s rights, defending unions, and supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs because I know firsthand how challenging it can be to run a small business,” Karla Bailey-Smith said.
Matt: The last line of the about section on your website says that “It’s time for all the 91st district to have a vision for values.” What does vision for values mean to you?
Karla: “It means so many things. First and foremost, as a resident and constituent of Central Illinois and Bloomington-Normal in particular, I feel that our current and past representatives have not had a vision for bringing representation, resources, and meeting the needs of the people of Central Illinois. A lot of people, when I knock on their doors, they don’t even know who their state representative is. I want to change that. I’m very interested in talking to people about what they need and how working in Springfield can help them have a better life.”
Matt: Two years ago, you did run against Keith Sommer and lost. What’s different this go around?
Karla: “The main difference is the map. While I absolutely do not approve of gerrymandering, this map has been drawn to give an advantage to a Democratic candidate. It includes much more of the center of Bloomington-Normal, keeping the core of Bloomington-Normal together. And those of us who live there are really looking forward to having representation that covers more of our municipality. It also goes across the Tazewell County and over into Bartonville.”
Matt: Your website said that you lobbied for the fair tax initiative which was struck down by voters across the State. Why did you support this amendment that was heavily talked about by Governor J.B. Pritzker?
Karla: “The most important thing was funding education. With the flat tax people who are significantly more money, we’re not contributing proportionally the same way that people with lower incomes were contributing, and it would have helped to address our education deficit in the state of Illinois. If the fair tax had passed.”
Matt: If another Amendment like the Fair Tax proposal was brought up again, would you support it?
Karla: Absolutely. We have a very serious problem in the Bloomington-Normal area with our Unit 5 Schools. They’re about $14 million in debt with their education funding, and we have to figure out how to change that and having people who earn significantly more pay their fair share in the state of Illinois and not finding loopholes and finding ways to not pay their fair share. You know that that has contributed to these problems in our schools,” Bailey-Smith said.
Matt: I’ve asked nearly all state rep candidates about the Michael Madigan indictment, so as you as well, what’s your reaction to the current investigation, and what are you going to do to ensure corruption is out of Illinois politics?
While not addressing the Madigan indictment at all, Bailey-Smith talked about term limits.
Karla: Well, honestly, I’ve been extremely focused on getting my signatures to be on the ballot and talking to voters. And, you know, I’m looking to the future,” Bailey-Smith said. “I definitely think that we need to address term limits in leadership positions in Springfield. That’s a good start. And we need to make sure that if elected officials are doing things that are counterproductive to the work of state legislation in Springfield, that we need to be ready to be prepared to address them.”
Bailey-Smith is set to face Sharon Chung in the Democratic primary for the 91st District this June. James Fisher and Scott Preston have filed to appear on the Republican primary ballot.